Thorns Get Three Big Points, Well Placed in Standings

The Thorns roster has started to resemble itself a bit more with the returns of Amandine Henry and Dagny Brynjarsdottir from the Women’s Euros. However, their starting lineup was still not what the faithful have been used to seeing.

Henry, and Allie Long fresh off two matches with the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), started on the bench. Coach Mark Parsons switched up his formation a bit, as he’s done several times this year to accommodate personnel changes. Once again, the coach knows his team pretty damn well.

It did not take long for the Thorns to get the party started this time around. Meghan Klingenberg’s Free Kick on the right side found it’s way to Emily Sonnett who deflected it in for the early 1-0 lead. I also got to unveil my Sonnett goal-call. It got no love, but I stand by it!

How did that ball find it’s way to Sonnett? By way of rookie Tyler Lussi, who’s been picking up some minutes while her teammates have been away on international duty. In this new formation, Lussi was split left, with Hayley Raso on the right, and Christine Sinclair down the middle. More on this later.

The Thorns kept the pressure up with a few misses, and forced Houston to jump into the shooting lanes on several occasions. The Dash were not just laying down either though, putting on some pressure of their own. Eventually it would pay off in the form of a Carli Lloyd penalty.

It didn’t take long for the Thorns to respond, and it was the rookie making things happen once again. Klingenberg came down the left, and made a cross into the box. the deflection off the defender came to Lussi, and I’ll let the video show you what happened next.

It was an incredible individual effort and much deserved. In the postgame, Parsons said she has a long way to go to reach her peak, but she has been progressing faster than anticipated, which is always a good thing.

The score would end 2-1, but the second half was anything but boring. Henry and Long made their way onto the pitch, as well as Boureille, in place of Ashleigh Sykes, Dagny, and Lussi. The one shock was Lindsey Horan playing the full 90 minutes.

Horan had played less in the second match for the USWNT than she did in the first, but the break in the NWSL was not much of one for her. In this new formation, she was playing further back, in more of a shutdown role on Carli Lloyd. The new role suited her well, as she once again showed a lot of hustle and tenacity.

Speaking of which, I thought Sinclair had a very good game all around. She consistently won the ball and her passes were on-target all game. Lussi acknowledged the benefits of getting quality minutes with the captain, and having her in the middle to direct traffic, so to speak.

The big question will be whose playing time will take a hit with the return of Nadia Nadim from Women’s Euros, and a fully rested Long and Henry. They also have a fully healthy Katherine Reynolds, who has looked solid with back-to-back starts.

The team is also hitting it’s stride at the right moment. While this win put them in a temporary spot at the top of the table (they’re back in third place now), they’re positioned well, gaining two points on first place and one on second.

Next Saturday’s away match to Chicago to face the now second-place Red Stars will be the biggest test of the season thus far. They will have a quick turnaround from that match, travelling to Kansas City on the following Wednesday. It appears they’re heating up at the right time though.

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